On January 4, 2011, which was I spent doing what I did everyday, work on client reports, send news clipping etc, I came across the news of a man named Salman Taseer, who had been assassinated in Pakistani capital of Islamabad. Even though being very used to coming across instances like that in the news, I still manged to make myself view that piece of news in a little more detail. Little did I know, that this man wasn't just another politician from my neighboring country. He was someone radically different in more ways, that what a vast majority of his home country seem to be like in modern times.
In the days to follow I decided to form an opinion, and perhaps look deeper into this incident, and of course the central character of it all; Salman Taseer. My research told me that he was the governor of Punjab province in Pakistan, and also a largely successful businessman before that. With the isolation and fragile condition that the Pakistani economy still faces on numerous levels, Taseer sa'ab decided and did successfully to change a number of things in peoples' lives, such as setting up the World Call Group in the country, which is one of the premier mobile service providers, apart from setting bases for international accountancy firms like KPMG, and also establishing media and real estate entities as apart of his empire, now looked after by his family members including wife Aamna Taseer, and sons Shahbaz and Shehryar. Daughter Shehrbano is an award winning journalist who now dares to stand up as a spokesperson for the family, and take the cause of her father forward. Brothers Shehbaz looks into the real estate division of the empire, where Shehryar oversees the media entities. To describe it all within a limited set of words, Salman Sa'ab dared to and successfully worked towards bringing about positive change in Pakistan, which it now needs more than ever.
But what got him into the limelight, both positively and negatively even, was his staunch believe towards debating and putting in place a more well documented and more justified Blasphemy Law for the country, which currently is adapted with the whim and fancy of everyone that can manipulate its loopholes. The result: religious minorities getting sacrificed, and suffering in ways only the devil can fathom. The particular legal case which Mr. Taseer took up was the Asia Bibi case, in which this lady who happened to be a poor illiterate one, was falsely put at the receiving end of the harsh punishments prescribed by this open-ended draconian law. Standing up for her proved to be the nail in the coffin almost literally, when Taseer Saab's body guard shot him 27 times, simply because he believed that Taseer Saab was a blasphemer for supporting this woman. Various narrations have been released with more details, but the shockingly depressing part is moral support Mumataz Hussain Qadri (the bodyguard turned killer) gets on the streets on Pakistan. Pro-bono legal services, rose petal sprinkling and pro-slogan writing for him are just some of the perks this killer gets, and the legal tangles of judiciary have kept him alive till date. Some sources even say, he might get released from prison!
Gives me the creeps, and makes me bow my head in shame to see what now transpires for the man to stood for justice. Where did humanity ever go? Where did sensible and critical thinking get diluted with? I may not have thought of looking at things the same way Salman Taseer saab did, but this: I can never shake my head enough in denial and disgust at this inhuman act. Its further tragic to know, that Shahbaz Taseer, the elder of the brothers has been kidnapped in August 2011, and the hunt for him still goes on, with nothing concrete at hand. My writing may not change people's thinking, but I hope there is a light of introspection that I wish to infuse in generous amounts.
All Opinions expressed here are my own, and not enforced on me by anyone. As proud of them I continue to be, I shall be open to logical discussion should anyone think worthy of it.
Image Credits: Friends Corner/ Pak Hungama/ Poch Times